Who is Inarius, and what role does he play in Diablo 4?
Diablo 4 has been out for a while now. As such, it feels like a good time to examine Inarius, the rebel Angel who helped create Sanctuary, yet has never lavished much love on the people who inhabit his creation — people who descend from him both figuratively and literally. After all, if not for the most infamous deadbeat dad in Sanctuary’s history, humanity as we know it in the game would not exist at all.
But even though Inarius plays a key role in Sanctuary’s history, he’s never actually appeared in a Diablo game before now. So let’s talk about who Inarius is, how this Archangel became Lilith’s co-conspirator in the struggle to escape the Eternal Conflict, and what role he plays in Diablo 4.
Spoilers for Diablo 4 after this point
Inarius lamented the pointless Eternal Conflict
Inarius was a respected Archangel and advisor to the Angiris Council, the ruling body of the High Heavens. Like his brethren, Inarius was dedicated to the war against the Demons and took part in many battles across Pandemonium, as the two sides struggled for control of Pandemonium Fortress. This fortress held the last remaining artifact from the period before the creation of Heaven and Hell: the Eye of Anu. The Eye held a fragment of the creator god’s powers — it could create worlds and warp reality — so the Angels and Demons were locked in combat over it.
But Inarius eventually grew tired of this endless war. If the angels seized the Pandemonium Fortress the Demons would simply take it back — until the next assault by Heaven managed to do the same. What good was having the Eye of Anu when you could never really use it before the enemy would come take it from you? What good was fighting a war nobody would ever win? Inarius confided his doubts to Tyrael, his closest friend among the Archangels, but Tyrael’s unshakable belief in justice meant he couldn’t be swayed from supporting the Eternal Conflict.
When Inarius was taken captive by Demons during a skirmish, he expected to be destroyed. He ranted at his captors about the uselessness of the war, and the pain that both sides went through for it. But unknown to him, Lilith — daughter of Mephisto, Queen of the Succubi — was listening from the shadows.
Inarius and Lilith escape the Eternal Conflict
Lilith explained that she, too, despised the Eternal Conflict. Fighting when you couldn’t win was foolish. Why waste the time and resources? Though the two of them detested the Eternal Conflict for different reasons, this lead to a monumental alliance. They gathered Angels and Demons who felt as they did, and came up with a plan to escape the Eternal Conflict for good.
Inarius was intimately familiar with the Pandemonium Fortress. He’s defended it and attacked it, been driven from it and driven others from it. With this knowledge, Inarius and Lilith’s cabal of rebel Angels and Demons breached the Fortress and used the Eye of Anu.
Working together, this group of rebels created a world unknown to both Heaven and Hell, where they would be hidden from the Eternal Conflict. They named it Sanctuary because that was what it was intended to be: a safe place where they could settle down and live quiet lives away from the pointless death and misery both sides were forced to endure in the name of the war.
The Nephalem are born
On Sanctuary, Angels and Demons lived side by side, and many formed relationships — including Lilith and Inarius. It’s hard to say what their emotions for one another truly were, but for Lilith it was certainly more complicated than simple affection.
For Lilith, the Eternal Conflict was pointless entirely because it would never end, but the Eye of Anu — the Worldstone on which Sanctuary was founded — could have the power to win this endless battle. Angels and Demons were both children of Anu in their ways — Angels were born Anu’s spine, the Crystal Arch in the High Heavens, and Demons were born from the corpse of Tathemet, the Prime Evil created when Anu expelled all evil from itself. Thus, children born from their union would contain both halves of Anu’s power — the power of creation itself.
And so Lilith and Inarius had a son: Linarian, who would later be known as Rathma. Linarian and the other children of Angels and Demons — the Nephalem — soon displayed the potential for power well beyond that of their parents, power similar to that of the Worldstone itself.
The Angels and Demons of Sanctuary realized their own children were a threat to their very existence. Sanctuary was only a refuge from the Eternal Conflict as long as it remained hidden from Heaven and Hell — the powerful Nephalem would would draw the attention. Thus the Nephalem had to be destroyed.
But they didn’t have a chance: Lilith acted first, destroyed everyone who threatened the Nephalem. Again, it’s hard to know a Demon’s heart. Did she care for the Nephalem as her children? And did she care for Inarius… or just believe he was a useful tool? She tried to convince Inarius that this was the right thing to do, but it didn’t turn out the way she’d hoped.
The Angels and Demons finally discover Sanctuary
Inarius didn’t agree with Lilith’s actions, and used the Worldstone to banish her to another plane of existence. Then he turned to the Nephalem, using the power of the artifact to alter the very fabric of Sanctuary. The existing Nephalem continued to exist, but every generation beyond would be weaker, less remarkable, and far less likely to be detected. In short, the Nephalem became ordinary humans.
For some time, Sanctuary was in peace. But during the Mage Clan Wars, a mage used magic to summon a Demon to fight his enemies… and with that, Sanctuary was no longer a secret. The Greater Evils — Mephisto, Baal, and Diablo — began making plans to conquer Sanctuary, and that drew the attention of the Angels in a conflict known as the Sin War.
In the end, the Greater Evils and the Angiris Council agreed that Sanctuary would be left alone, Lilith escaped her inprisonment, and Inarius ended up in the clutches of her father Mephisto — a fate the Angiris Council agreed to in order to seal the pact with Hell.
Inarius, the worst Father possible
Following the events of Diablo 3, the ravaged population of Sanctuary were desperate for answers, for hope, for anything to cling to. So many people died that nations crumbled and societies were almost extirpated from the world, and organizations like the Zakarum had become mired in distrust and suspicion following the revelation that Mephisto himself had corrupted and controlled much of the priesthood. Into this world, somehow escaped from Hell — was it during Mephisto’s Dark Exile?
Inarius took advantage of the situation to recreate the Cathedral of Light that he’d led during the ancient Sin War. But as Lorath Nahr put it, it turns out that being tortured for years in Hell had turned Inarius into an arse. He views humans with not even thinly veiled contempt and he spends the majority of his time brooding about a Prophecy created by his son Rathma and his role in it. His desperation to return to Heaven manifests in a demented conviction, despite being told otherwise by Rathma himself, that the Prophecy is about him and he will fulfill it by killing Lilith, making him the spear of light piercing Hatred’s heart mentioned in it.
As we pursue Lilith through the Necropolis of the Firstborn, we see flashes of the confrontation between Rathma and Inarius, with the First Necromancer holding firm that he would not give Inarius the key to Hell and Inarius growing ever more frustrated. We never see the climactic moment between them, but we do witness Lilith discovering Rathma’s body, speared through with his own staff — and, ironically, had Inarius taken a moment to look at that staff, he would have realized he’d held the very key to Hell he’d sought in his own hands and hadn’t recognized it.
In addition to killing his own son and refusing to help the pursuit of Lilith — what did he care, he knew the Prophecy of Rathma was about him and it was his destiny to go to Hell and kill her, who cares what some worthless human thinks — Inarius also seems to have redefined ‘hands off’ leadership. There’s a cult of weird vampires using a magical chalice to create more of themselves, led by a Bishop of the Cathedral of Light and hiding underneath the very monastery Inarius sits waiting for the Prophecy to come true? Either he doesn’t know or he doesn’t care, and neither of those is very comforting.
And when the group of Horadrim and the Wanderer who has become so pivotal to fighting Hells’ forces cross paths with Inarius at the gateway to Hell that Lilith has used, Inarius not only ignores what they have to say, he takes the Soulstone from them and gives it to his servant Reverend Mother Prava before leading his forces through into Hell. And then, he abandons them without a second thought to chase after and confront Lilith only for her to easily pick up on the treads of his self hatred and ultimately distract him long enough to strike him down, partially because of how he killed Rathma, but mostly just because he was in the way. Inarius’ death and the near-total destruction of the forces he brought to Hell with him leaves the Cathedral of Light without his leadership — such as it ever was — and even now it hardens into an ever more fanatical and sinister organization.
Inarius the Dupe
It’s safe to say that despite his claim to Rathma before killing his son that he controls his own destiny, Inarius has never actually been in control of anything, least of all himself. First he participated in the Eternal Conflict, then he rebelled against it alongside Lilith before realizing she’d used him to bring her plans to fruition. After banishing her and using the Worldstone to magically hobble his own descendants, he spent eons wandering a world full of people he considered vermin, only to have the forces of Hell invade his world. This led to the Sin War, his imprisonment in Hell, and the madness that gripped him upon his return.
Every time we see Inarius in Diablo 4, he is either dismissing the people who follow him as being worthless or just plain making things worse. His murder of Rathma not only gives Lilith a new resolve but it also gives her the key to Hell. His unwillingness to work with the Wanderer or the Horadrim not only leads to his own death but leaves behind followers like Prava with a fresh martyr and in his name they’re already spreading fear and hatred across Sanctuary. As Mephisto himself says of Inarius, the Angel already hated before he ever set foot in Hell. And the thing he hates most is, and has been for a while now, himself.
Originally published March 20, 2023; updated August 24, 2023
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